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Want Some Fries With That?
Who doesn't want some fries from time to time? The vast majority of us indulge our fast food cravings from time to time. However as a school owner or administrator, it is important you make sure your drivers are not indulging that guilty pleasure when driving your vehicles.
In one case, the driver just couldn't resist the longing for their favorite fast food lunch. They left school early enough to go through the drive through prior to arriving at their first pick up location. Unfortunately, the mini-bus they were driving exceeded the height restriction and the bus ripped down the drive through sign and canopy.
This resulted in over $5,000 of damages to the restaurant.
Guess who is responsible for that damage. Did you guess the driver? If so, you're wrong.
Did you guess the school? If you did, you're absolutely correct.
Whether you agree with America's legal precedents or not, our judicial system says, "since the driver is working on behalf of the school", the school is responsible for the driver's actions.
Are you thinking "but I didn't ask them to go through the drive through?"
If so, the only way you can even begin to use such a defense is to have a policy in your employee handbook that expressly prohibits such behavior.
This issue can arise in a fast food drive through, a grocery store parking lot, a residential neighborhood, or anywhere your driver detours for their own personal reasons. It is still your responsibility unless you have a policy in place forbidding such personal use of your vehicles.
Even with such a policy, if the damage done exceeds the liability coverage your driver has on their personal auto policy, your school will be held responsible.
As much as we may want fries, are they really worth $5,000?
I value your feedback.  Please email comments or suggestions to: beth@blockinsurance.net
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